Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Gaps are back

Now, what happens to science when the gaps come back?

Remember the God of the Gaps problem? 

Religion said, we got earthquakes and volcanoes and plagues and floods and fires and all sorts of horrible things plus Kardashians because the gods are all pissed off at us. Also, rainbows and butterflies and waterfalls and suns and moons and stars and sunsets all come from the gods. So throw some virgins into the volcanoes and we'll get rainbows and sunsets all over again. The gods love it when we throw virgins into volcanoes. Those crazy gods.

So science, all Newtonian about it, says, hah! you guys are idiots. Everything happens because the laws of physics make everything happen. Gods!?!? Seriously!?!? You guys are idiots.

And we were, kinda.

'Cause the laws of physics DO cause everything to happen.

If we had not been idiots, we might have said, um, so, where do the laws of physics come from?

And THEY would said, hah! you guys are idiots. The laws of physics have always been here. Just like the universe has always been here. ("Oops" is what they said about that later.)

How many laws of physics are there, actually? we could have politely asked.

One, they would have said. Gravity. Everything else comes from that.

Then after awhile, they would have said, Two. Gravity and Electromagnetism. Everything else comes from those.

And then the 20th century rolled into view, and all of sudden, things got messy.

First, there was Quantum Theory.

Then, there was Relativity.

Then, there was Big Bang.

Then, the universe hadn't always been there.

Then, the laws of physics hadn't always been there, either. Because nothing had always been there.

Plus, then there were two more laws. The Strong and Weak Interactions. That's what they call them.

And all of a sudden, there were more Gaps that needed to be filled with science.

And the actual science that filled the Gaps just gave us even more Gaps. Gaps upon Gaps.

Fortunately for science, religious people didn't like Big Bang, so it turned out not to be much of a problem, because then they didn't know about the new Gaps.

But it should have been.

Because science had filled all of the OLD gaps with Newtonian science, which doesn't work at all well at filling the NEW gaps.

And we have all of the NEW gaps because of the NEW science. Relativistic, quantum science. Which created the gaps.

It's a problem. Because the new gaps look like this:

Where did all the science come from? Laws of physics-wise, I mean.

Where did the universe come from? Since there were no laws of physics to make it come from anywhere, and since there was no where there for it to have come here from there from.

And what the heck is this whole quantum thing, anyway?

So now we've got quantum weirdness and space-time weirdness and Dark Energy and Dark Matter and Strings and Loops and Holographic and/or Computer Simulated Universe options and Biocentric Universe options and 41 (or more) interacting universes options and Multiverses options and Higgses and Cosmological Constants and Inflationary options and there's hardly anything we know about a lot of them that might be true and a lot that we know that is true that is totally bizarre and NOT Newtonian.

And frankly, there's a lot more gaps than not gaps these days, cosmology-wise.

And God has become a reasonable answer, unless 

you think that God will never ever be any kind of reasonable answer because


But, here's a thought.

Just because God was a lame answer for some problems we had in understanding nature doesn't mean

That he might not be a really fine answer for other problems we have in understanding nature.

Maybe we just need to ask better questions. And maybe we need to be ready for our understanding of God to be too small.

Which only makes sense, since our understanding of the universe has clearly been too small.

'Cause here again is what science did. It assumed that the God it didn't believe in was exactly like the God that religious people did believe in. That since we knew that volcanoes weren't actually the gods blowing off angry steam, that there was a nice neat scientific explanation for volcanoes, then THAT God or THOSE gods did not exist.

And indeed, they did not.

But a much better conclusion would have been,

Maybe God is a bit more complicated, complex, and interesting than the pissed off gods of yore. And maybe rejecting the existence of God today by assuming that God is the same God or gods that the modern religions accept today is no more insightful or imaginative.

That is, to say that the God of the Old Testament or the Torah or the Koran is harsh and brutal and therefore God does not exist, is the province of small minds.

And maybe assuming that God is constantly in a state of being constantly pissed off is a bad assumption.

The volcano virgins of the world like where this is going.

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